April 15, 2014

Battling the elements

Athletes face cold and wind at 7-4A track meet

By Doug Hawley

— A bitterly cold wind was disruptive enough to shake up the schedule Tuesday at the opening day of the Region 7-4A track and field meet at Dalton High School.

But those tough conditions didn’t stop some local athletes from excelling.

That group includes Dalton’s Jordon McKinney — a sophomore who was the leading scorer for the Catamounts at last year’s region meet — as he finished second in the triple jump at 42 feet, 10 inches.

The top four finishers in each event at region move on to the sectional round. Region 7-4A athletes will compete in the Class 4A “A” sectional meet on April 26 at Carrollton High School with hopes of finishing in the top half of the field to advance to state.

The girls state meets are May 1-3 in Albany, while the boys state meets are May 8-10 in Jefferson.

McKinney also advanced to today’s finals in the 110-meter hurdles — he finished third at 16.36 seconds in Tuesday’s preliminaries — and the 300 hurdles (43.74), where he was also third.

“It was awful weather,” Dalton coach Scott Thompson acknowledged. “And the kids had to (compete) in it. Despite the weather, all of the kids performed admirably.”

The first day of the meet was slated to include more field events, but pole vault and high jump were postponed because coaches were concerned about athlete safety in the fierce wind. In addition to boys triple jump, finals were held for boys shot put, girls discus, girls long jump and the 1,600 for both boys and girls.

Today’s competition begins at 11 a.m. with girls pole vault and boys high jump.

“With the weather expected to be better tomorrow, we should have better performances,” Thompson said.

While there were no individual local champions crowned Tuesday, Southeast Whitfield’s Isabel Salinas was second in the girls 1,600 final (5:42.07) and teammate Wendy Perez was the runner-up in the discus final (101-2). Southeast’s Luis Perez was second in the boys 1,600 final at 4:43.07.

In the boys shot put final, Dalton’s Hayden Gross (49-8 1/4) and Nate Mays (44-2) took third and fourth, respectively, to move on to sectionals.

Dalton’s Zek Cobb took fourth in the boys triple jump (40-8) to advance to sectionals and was also part of the 4x100 relay team that had the third-best time (45.88) in the preliminaries.

Other standouts in the boys preliminaries were Dalton’s Seth Gabriel, whose time of 42.46 was the best in the 300 hurdles, and Angel Rodriguez, who was tops in the 800 (2:08.44). Southeast’s Luis Perez (2:11.25) was second in the latter event and Northwest Whitfield’s Dylan Richards (2:16.35) was third.

In girls preliminaries, Dalton’s Adrianna Bryant had the top time at 12.72 in the 100, while teammate Presley Craig was second in the 100 hurdles (1.6.78) and third for the 300 hurdles (51.53). The Lady Cats’ Mary Morrow had the fourth-best time in the 200 (27.74). Northwest’s McKin-ley Hopkins was second in the 300 hurdles (49.98).